Simtek Corp was a Fabless IC supplier, developing and marketing fast nvSRAMs (non-volatile SRAMS). By outsourcing manufacturing Simtek greatly reduced headcount, capital and operating expenses to focus on product design and sales. The nvSRAM combined SRAM and EEPROM in a “shadow memory configuration” to gain the best of SRAM speed and EEPROM nonvolatility in a single package. Simtek’s nvSRAM product family utilized a unique patented memory cell technology called Novcel, integrating fast SRAM and EEPROM elements in each cell. The Autostore nvSRAMs automatically detected power loss and transferred data from SRAM to EEPROM. Its products were aimed at portable computers and instruments, telecommunications systems, avionics subsystems, medical instrumentation, and other high performance applications.
The product family of nvSRAM came in a number of different packages and included 4K, 16K, 64K and 256K devices. First product samples and manufacturing flow were produced at Orbit Semiconductor of Sunnyvale, CA in 1988. This enabled a smoother technology and manufacturing transfer to Plessey Semiconductors in 1989. Full scale commercial products were based on 1.2 micron and 0.8 micron process technologies, primarily relying on foundry agreements with Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing (Singapore) and Zentrum Mikroelecktronik Dresden (Germany) for the co-development of process technologies and its wafers.
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